July 14, 2016 § 3 Comments
Many years ago, when I first visited Paris, I vowed I would go back and see ALL the art I missed. This year I got to do just that. Well, almost.
It seems water (as in flooding) likes to follow me wherever I go (FYI: I live in New Orleans!) and, so of course a couple of days after I arrived, so did the flood; which in turn closed down The Louvre and some other institutions of art. However, I did manage to tour Musee D’Orsay and L’Orangerie before they had to shut down and move the art. So my dream of seeing Monet’s Lilies did come true! Not to mention all the spots that stayed open throughout the 10 day downpour (Musée Rodin, Musée Picasso, etc). Enough about the art. The real BIG deal of my trip was a visit to a teeny tiny boutique on Rue Saint Honoré, an exquisite jewel box. The shop of one of my idols: Lydia Courteille. Well, let me just say, it was going to be enough for me just to look and swoon, but there SHE was! And so gracious and lovely. I got to touch and pet her work, and talk to the designer herself. Here’s proof:
Ms. Courteille’s work is over the top fantasy. I’m not making this up, check out her stuff here: http://www.lydiacourteille.com/
Well, enough about that Lydia. This Lydia came home inspired by all that pavé, and pulled out a couple of jewel encrusted crystals (pavé created by Mother Nature)!Here’s what they became:
Since I was on an “Orange You Glad” theme, I made this bracelet with a larger spessartite crystal (and a “bestie”)!
Staying on the “orange” theme: gorgeous Mexican fire opal (love the spots).
Clicking on an image will take you to the shop for more info. While you’re at it, you can check out some of the other Beautiful Blondes, including some wonderful “redhead edition” pieces here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/collections/beautiful-blondes
Hope everyone is having fun in the sun and enjoying summer. I am still dreaming of Paris!
May 10, 2016 § Leave a comment
We are gathered here today
2 get through this thing called life
You could practically feel everyone’s hearts breaking last month, when the shocking news of Prince’s death hit the news. We have lost so many talents this year already: David Bowie, Glenn Frey, Merle Haggard, Keith Emerson.
Good grief – it’s all too much.
Whenever I don’t know how to handle a loss, I play with my rocks for therapy. This time they are purple. For the “Her Purpleness” jewelry collection, my tribute to His Purpleness.
You can check out these and other “Her Purpleness” pieces here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/collections/her-purpleness
“There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels”. Buddhist teaching.
April 19, 2016 § Leave a comment
My latest batch of goodies:
And to match:
One of the unusual pieces I bought in Tucson this year, was a beautiful piece of heart shaped chrysocolla; from the Inspiration mine in Arizona (often referred to as “gem silica”). It reminded me of the sea, I paired it with a giant freshwater pearl, and tropical blue apatite.
Check out what’s in the shop here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/collections/home
Or email me if you want something made just for you: firstname.lastname@example.org
March 9, 2016 § Leave a comment
If I had to pick my favorite find in Tucson, it would be this:
It was sold to me as an “aquamarine” strand with inclusions. I’d never seen anything like it, very rare and unusual. It is a very pale green/blue color, so to me, it would be “beryl”. Either way, I fell in love with it.
Not only that, but I found these two fabulous pieces that I believe must have come from the same mine in Brazil:
What to do what to do…
I may be keeping this necklace for myself!
Since I was only able to snag 2 of the faceted pieces, I was thinking of “Miss Matching” earrings with a raw crystal to complement the faceted one. The jury is still out on this, it may become a pendant or another necklace. Opinions and comments welcome!
Since this is March and aquamarine is the birthstone, these really are (for true!) aquamarines:
You can check out what’s for sale in the shop here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/
If you want to snag one of these crystals for your own fine self, send an email to: email@example.com and we can make it happen.
February 15, 2016 § 1 Comment
Tucson Arizona at the end of January, and beginning of February: Motel rooms become gem shops. Tents spring up all over town overflowing with rocks and minerals. Convention centers bring the world to town with cases and cases of gemstones, fossilized shark teeth and glittery druzy. I am in my element.
This is what I wake up to every morning:
Then I hit the ground running and start the quest. Here are some of the highlights I managed to snag:
Trapiche, taken from the Spanish word meaning “a spoked wheel” used to grind sugar cane. These sapphires resemble the pattern. Found in Myanmar (formerly Burma). Very rare, collectors’ items.
Beautiful raw strand. For self esteem, creativity and positivity.
Rare, rare, rare AND HUGE aquamarine crystal slices (Gem dealers were stalking me for this find!)
Sometimes confused with turquoise; variscite is greener. Brings peace and harmony.
I can never have enough opals in my stash. These are so beautiful, they made me weep.
Rare (there’s that word again!) blue tourmaline crystal slices. Sigh.
Some people have no sense of humor. I was so taken by some of the displays, I broke out into song; specifically the chorus of Itchycoo Park by the Small Faces (“it’s all too beautiful, it’s all too beautiful”), no one joined in. They actually moved away. At least I had fun.
Small Faces aren’t your generation? Have a listen here:
Look out for some new work coming soon, as soon as I stop the drooling and the singing.
For finished pieces to buy, go here: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/
January 12, 2016 § Leave a comment
It’s a NEW Year! For most people it means resolutions, for moi it means gearing up for the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR (code for Tucson gem shows). It’s always exciting to add more rocks to my cache (some people call it hoarding, I call it “collecting”).
I selected some rocks I’m willing to part with, and made a few things for the wrist (again).
For more info for the available pieces, go to the shop: http://boutique.ledajewelco.com/
Hope everyone enjoys the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR as much as I do; no matter where you are. If the Goddesses are willing, I’ll do a post or two from Tucson! Or at least a postcard that says “Wish you were here”.
December 16, 2015 § Leave a comment
When I was in my last year of gold smithing school, I remember wondering if I had chosen a “shallow” profession. I have written about this before (see “Quintessence” https://ledajewelco.wordpress.com/2015/03/). Even though I think I’ve resolved it, I still get pangs of guilt that I’m not exactly saving the world.
My work is not famous. I have a handful of admirers for which I am deeply grateful for. I create pieces that I hope will have meaning to others, and seldom put anything on “sale”. Handmade is time-consuming and expensive for a lot of people; I make available workable lay-away plans for anyone who really and truly loves a piece. I am not interested in coercing anyone to “buy” my work. Of course this doesn’t make for the best, um, “business” plan.
Having said this, I have asked my friends not to go out and buy me “stuff”. If there’s a book you have already, that you think I might enjoy, that’s OK, but no more stuff. Quaffables like wine or disappearing acts like soap are OK, but not necessary. I’d rather break bread with someone and/or give $$ to a worthwhile cause.
This being the week before Christmas, I have been working at not get caught in the stress of it all. My wish to everyone is to have a holiday with meaning and a nice meal. A friend of mine shared this story on social media and I would like to end the year with it. Wishing everyone all the best.
The Gift of Death
Pathological consumption has become so normalised that we scarcely notice it.
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 11th December 2012
There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub holder; a “hilarious” inflatable zimmer frame; a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle; or – and somehow I find this significant – a Scratch Off World wall map.
They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For thirty seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generations.
Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale. Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable).
But many of the products we buy, especially for Christmas, cannot become obsolescent. The term implies a loss of utility, but they had no utility in the first place. An electronic drum-machine t-shirt; a Darth Vader talking piggy bank; an ear-shaped i-phone case; an individual beer can chiller; an electronic wine breather; a sonic screwdriver remote control; bacon toothpaste; a dancing dog: no one is expected to use them, or even look at them, after Christmas Day. They are designed to elicit thanks, perhaps a snigger or two, and then be thrown away.
The fatuity of the products is matched by the profundity of the impacts. Rare materials, complex electronics, the energy needed for manufacture and transport are extracted and refined and combined into compounds of utter pointlessness. When you take account of the fossil fuels whose use we commission in other countries, manufacturing and consumption are responsible for more than half of our carbon dioxide production. We are screwing the planet to make solar-powered bath thermometers and desktop crazy golfers.
People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility. Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.
In 2007, the journalist Adam Welz records, 13 rhinos were killed by poachers in South Africa. This year, so far, 585 have been shot. No one is entirely sure why. But one answer is that very rich people in Vietnam are now sprinkling ground rhino horn on their food or snorting it like cocaine to display their wealth. It’s grotesque, but it scarcely differs from what almost everyone in industrialised nations is doing: trashing the living world through pointless consumption.
This boom has not happened by accident. Our lives have been corralled and shaped in order to encourage it. World trade rules force countries to participate in the festival of junk. Governments cut taxes, deregulate business, manipulate interest rates to stimulate spending. But seldom do the engineers of these policies stop and ask “spending on what?”. When every conceivable want and need has been met (among those who have disposable money), growth depends on selling the utterly useless. The solemnity of the state, its might and majesty, are harnessed to the task of delivering Terry the Swearing Turtle to our doors.
Grown men and women devote their lives to manufacturing and marketing this rubbish, and dissing the idea of living without it. “I always knit my gifts”, says a woman in a television ad for an electronics outlet. “Well you shouldn’t,” replies the narrator. An advertisement for Google’s latest tablet shows a father and son camping in the woods. Their enjoyment depends on the Nexus 7’s special features. The best things in life are free, but we’ve found a way of selling them to you.
The growth of inequality that has accompanied the consumer boom ensures that the rising economic tide no longer lifts all boats. In the US in 2010 a remarkable 93% of the growth in incomes accrued to the top 1% of the population. The old excuse, that we must trash the planet to help the poor, simply does not wash. For a few decades of extra enrichment for those who already possess more money than they know how to spend, the prospects of everyone else who will live on this earth are diminished.
So effectively have governments, the media and advertisers associated consumption with prosperity and happiness that to say these things is to expose yourself to opprobrium and ridicule. Witness last week’s Moral Maze programme, in which most of the panel lined up to decry the idea of consuming less, and to associate it, somehow, with authoritarianism(8). When the world goes mad, those who resist are denounced as lunatics.
Bake them a cake, write them a poem, give them a kiss, tell them a joke, but for god’s sake stop trashing the planet to tell someone you care. All it shows is that you don’t.
Here’s the actual post with notes and links: http://www.monbiot.com/2012/12/10/the-gift-of-death/